Acanthus spinosus

Spiny Bear's Breeches

This species of bear's breeches is a clump-forming perennial which is grown as much for its attractive foliage as for its architecturally bold flower spikes. Features pure white, snapdragon-like flowers enclosed by spiny, mauve-purple bracts and arranged in vertical rows on substantial flower spikes which rise well above the foliage mound to 3-4' tall. Blooms from late spring into mid summer. Deeply-cut, arching, glossy green, spiny, thistle-like leaves (2-3' long) form an ornamental mound of long-stalked, basal foliage which usually remains attractive throughout the growing season.

Height: 3-4 Feet
Spread: 3 Feet
Zone: 6-10
Color: Mauve Pink

Spiny Bear's Breeches Characteristics & Attributes

Part Shade
Soil Moisture Needs
Good Drainage
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Critter Resistance
Deer Resistant
Growth Rate
Perennial Border
Cut Flower
Accent Plant
Season of Interest (Foliage)
Late Summer
Late Spring / Early Summer
Homeowner Growing & Maintenance Tips for Spiny Bear's Breeches

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils except poorly-drained ones. Can be slow to establish in the garden, but somewhat difficult to eradicate once established since small sections of root left be hind can sprout new plants.

Interesting Notes

Along with its close relative, Acanthus mollis, the leaves of this plant have been forever immortalized as the foliage depicted on the sculptured capitals of ancient Greek Corinthian columns.